Hagerty.com

Where are all the French cars in America?


#1

While French car makers have produced a wide range of seminal automobiles—from advanced cars like the 1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix race car that Bonhams recently sold for $7,260,000 to the more humble Citroen 2CV—they have just never been particularly popular in America.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/11/20/french-cars-in-america

Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” - Renault Alliance
#2

Cute cars yes. But build quality historically stinks IMO. I wonder if Renault still uses cardboard between the inner fenders and quarter panels to keep the soft sheet metal from rattling? You have to have some positive history here for anyone to regard them as collectible. Unless you stay pre-war, seems like too many other equally cute but infinitely better built cars to choose from.


#3

@j.rybar20 - You make a point about build quality. However there are many brands and collectible cars that are notoriously bad in terms of fit and finish, and also reliability. I guess that’s where the phase “a bum for every seat” comes from!


#4

And you make a point about other manufacturers lack of quality and a bum for every seat.
Maybe there’s someone out there with fond nostalgia for the Alliance and Encore…I just haven’t met ‘em.


#5

I’ve had a Peugeot 404 in BC for the past 38 years and in fact just restored the 1966 404 Coupé Injection that I bought 29 years back at significant cost. Pretty Italian built 2 door body, Kugelfischer-injected 1600 hemi, Nardi 4 speed. The car is being reassembled in my garage right now. If you are interested in 404s, check out my registry that I’ve done for Le Club 404 - quite a few are in the USA still. http://www.smrtash.ca/404/browse.php?country=USA


#6

Shhh don’t tell anyone the quickest way to an unusual and technically interesting ride is a French car. And, due to their current limited appeal they are often a cost effective acquisition. Also please please dissuade potential purchasers by failing to mention to those considering a purchase that they are utterly reliable and wonderfully comfortable :-). Yes, and they are slow, but in return give those following something beautiful to behold as they pass. I currently have four ‘frenchies’ amongst my cars, and not only are they different from other countries products they are also very different from each other. My French drivers currently include a Citroen Ami8, a Traction Avant 11BL, a Peugeot 404 PF Coupe and a Deutsch Bonnet HBR5. My other hobby cars represent the UN except I am currently missing an Italian delegate so I remain somewhat objective. I think most descriptor of France’s cars is the French phrase, ‘Vive la Difference’ - if you don’t feel you can embrace this concept you should probably stick with more conventional equipment. Happy motoring, Retrogreg


#7

I wouldn’t mind spotting an 83 Renault Fuego Turbo.


#8

I like the Alliance and Encore. Unfortunately they are not as good as the exceptional R5 LeCar that preceded them. I owned 4of those.


#9

I agree. It just seems whenever I do see a French car in the states, it is not in a condition I am willing to take on.


#10

I have a good idea where a lot of the French cars in America are…